Our desire to pray for all people has been a sacred gift for thousands of years. The innocent have had to fight through wars and weather and changes and the challenges that we all pursue at different times of our lives. There is a power in LOVE that we are all born with and we all have the opportunity to share that love with each other. Every day is a new gift and a remembrance of all those who have shared their lives with the many who have crossed my path and made my life so meaningful.There is not time in a day to remember them all and what they have shared with me. To be able to say thank you for all you have shared with me from childhood to today. I smile as each name is remembered and the power of love gives strength no matter what the day brings. For all of you I have yet to meet I have a sense of well being, not just for them, but what they have shared with me in thought. More often than not the gifts you give to me out way how much I can share with you. Jesus put it this way, “Do unto others as you would have them done unto you”.
Enjoy your days and KNOW THAT OUR CARES AND PRAYERS GO WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES.
I have done lots of music in my life from my own music to worship music in churches, on retreats, in Barbershop settings, and on and on. When I think that my memory is fading the WORD for today pops up. One of my favorite retreat songs for kids goes: I’ve got the JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY deep in my heart, deep in my heart…….I’ve got the LOVE OF JESUS, LOVE OF JESUS deep in my heart…..and so on.
As soon as I looked at today’s word “JOY” The whole song bounced into my mind and the pictures of dozens of smiling kids filled my memory. The smile went from left to right and north to south and east to west. Sometimes I feel forgetful and that is when GOD shines a light onto a music folder and the smile appears. Too often we feel that GOD has gone on vacation and forgot to tell us where GOD has been off to. We feel that GOD doesn’t care, or GOD doesn’t exist or GOD is too busy. Then, seeming-lee without paying any attention, GOD drops a little GOD-SHELL to make sure we do not miss all that GOD is doing. We expect great things from GOD, or we do not have any belief in GOD. Great things are too often subtle and we do not recognize all the activity that GOD involves ourselves in. When you find yourself down and out there becomes a song in the background, or a memory to remind you, that GOD is so active that you think that GOD is too GREAT to deal with “just me”? Wrong again.
GOD is more a master of THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT.
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy …..Have a wonderful day. OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
Trying to get back to Weds off. No need to rush, so I pick something to rush about. On the computer with “what about this or what about that”. Long rest or short rest. Fill up the Brita (Water purifier) full or still ok. Walk the dogs or “They’re OK for a while longer”. Just what to do today? Start new or start later. I am sooo confused. I should think nap, or maybe total gym? Throw paper up, then one has to pick paper up. Why do people retire anyway? There are always things to do. I guess that days off are way too time consuming for a guy like me. Have a wonderful day and stay safe. Have to get the dogs their sweaters on and the insulated coats. Wind chill is -12. Life. It is a never ending story. Know that OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. “A nap you say?” Hmmmmm.
The news this SUNDAY MORNING reminded me of the day, May15,1968 a tornado rampaged my birth town of Oelwein Iowa. My cousin and my Grandmother were about their day and the sirens went off and my Grandmother grabbed my cousin Tim and pulled him down into the basement of the family home and they found a safe shelter in the basement. The porch on the southside of the home was gone. Blown away and not found again. My Oelwein friends lived next door and a tree limb had blown right through their living room wall. The elm trees along their street had blown over. A corner of the high school had been damaged. Damage was everywhere. I sat in my home a couple of hundred miles away in Kansas City and made arrangements to get on the bus and head for Oelwein. Four had died, and the damage was extreme. I was 16 years old then. A friend of mine from Minneapolis met me there.
So many came to help. I fixed fences, the chimney on Grandma’s home. Cleaning and sweeping and very fortunate that the damage was minimal to Grandma and my friends there and my cousins from across the back-street were all OK. Today I think of years of writing Unorthodox Christianity and think of the so many who have died, so much loss of homes, workplaces, shelters, and so much more that happened in Kentucky and nearby. How fortunate I am for living in Des Moines Iowa and not being a victim of one of the 20+ tornadoes. I watched my morning Church show like I always do and thought “What DO You Say?” “What do you say, religiously?”
GOD is all over Sunday television. Prayer and the sermons about Jesus and the stories of His birth for us to share that has become Christmas, and gifts and get togethers and families together now changed forever for those affected by 20+ tornadoes. Thousands affected both there and relatives and friends who heard from the relatives of friends that they grew up with and hearing of the devastation of their home towns and all the people who lost their lives. The TV sermons are talking about the birth of Jesus and the gifts of GOD. “What DO you say?” How do I, sharing Unorthodox Christianity, answer the questions of WHY? There will be lots of “Why’s” in the lives of so many.
GOD BEGINS IMMEDIATELY. So many who survived. So many first responders. So many who started immediately checking on their neighbors, their neighbor hoods, and their relatives. So much power of prayer to fill the voids as the phone calls are made, the homes and lives to be rebuilt. The stories of miracles after miracles that saved so many from a tragedy brought on by the physics of nature. GOD IS AT WORK IMMEDIATELY. The world is a world of constant change. GOD NEVER STAYS AWAY. GOD DOES NOT STOP HELPING. GOD knows the physics of the world. GOD knows the natural risks of LIFE. The instant power of the prayers of millions go to work to console, to help, to care.
“WHAT DO YOU SAY?” “OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.” “OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALWAYS.” We can not be everywhere, we can not offer as much help as we would like, but OUR CARES AND OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU ALWAYS because GOD HAS BEEN AT WORK IMMEDIATELY. The power of your prayers feeds miracle after miracle because GOD NEVER STOPS CARING FOR ALL GOD’S CHILDREN, YOUNG OR OLD.
FINTER is upon us. Those magic days between fall and winter where one coat is ok but two is too bulky. The high is grasping at the upper 40ties with a bit lighter wind. For those east of us it may seem like the beginning of Winter for a while, global cooling is upon us.
Peace is such a relevant word for us as we watch the news each day and wonder what has happened to us as a people. I remember back in the 80’s when the debate was more good news or more bad news for TV. Rather than the bad news getting the most time, I would prefer the good news most of the time. There are more good and caring people in the world than gets touched upon. There are so many events happening for people to share food, time, clothing, resources and much more that the ordinary people have put together.
Jesus put it this way: “These things that you have done for the least of these my children, you have done for me”. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We do much of that without thinking about the many things Jesus brought to the table. I have learned so much in my life. Not for what I have perhaps learned, but for what have I been taught by those who have reached out to help me. The things we often take for granted, have been the greatest of all gifts.
When you are sharing the good news this weekend, know that OUR CARES AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.
I have been writing for many years now. The notes that have become Unorthodox Christianity. They go quite a ways back. Why did I even begin with the writing. It seems I need to remind myself to write more articles. Why?
It largely began with the conversation with a Sunday school teacher I have referenced before. In second grade Sunday School, in the midst of teaching about GOD creating the world and GOOD and EVIL, the teacher asked an open door, “Do you have any questions?”
“Yes”. I responded. “If GOD created everything, why didn’t GOD just make GOOD PEOPLE?”
That was the end of my religious question and answer period. I was embarking on a life where I asked questions and I looked for answers.
First question became IS GOD JUST A REALLY BIG GUY IN THE SKY? Then I touched on JESUS. Should I simply ask the questions to the BIG GUY AT THE TOP? Why Work around the middle man. My dad had worked with professional sales representatives. I guess I got it from him.
I looked up at the sky one evening when I was about 13-14 years old. I began asking GOD questions, with help from the middle man. I could not imagine a BIG GUY IN THE SKY. Too Big. Too many planets. Too many people, too many questions. Too fixed.
So here is God, a spirit that envelopes all created order, galaxies and universes we may never see. There are spiritual dimensions that we can’t even imagine and entities that even Hollywood can’t conjure up. Is GOD a celestial humanoid that only speaks one language and favors one race. A spirit (Whatever that is) that came before all physical creation, affects every single human on Earth to some extent. I have no problem believing in God (whatever a GOD is), but a God with limits on just what [HE] can or can not do?
Then you have the question of the power of Christianity, which is removed from the culture of the legend of Jesus a Messiah for what became a completely different culture that didn’t exist before Jesus? A Messiah that has yet to be accepted by the culture that refuses to accept Jesus as its own Messiah. The CHRIST of Christian is very much a separate entity from the culture Jesus came from and built around converts and Gentiles. In fact the Christian culture of early Christianity created power around an individual who preached LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
It is a wonder that a child in Bethlehem was chosen to carry the spirit and message of God to these people? When these people didn’t listen to Jesus, Jesus sent his insight for LOVE ONE ANOTHER through others who did believe in the life and story of Jesus into other cultures that didn’t speak Jesus’ language or have Jesus’ customs. Groups of other believers that translated Jesus story into their own and patterned their own beliefs along with Jesus. Could there be unconditional love in the midst of all religions without respect of culture, origin, skin tone? We have created racial preferences on EARTH which was created by a single entity to be made in “Our image”.
In the midst of it all GOD has already created that entity to be among us.
It comes in the framework of our pets, our animals, our disenfranchised friends that have a language of their own yet understand our emotions more than we understand our own. They understand our behavior and love us in spite of ourselves. They forgive us more quickly than we can respond. And there have been many millions and billions of followers that have moved forward into Jesus’ message of LOVE ONE ANOTHER, plain and simple.
GOD IS CAPABLE and HAS CREATED GOOD PEOPLE. The truth is that even the GOOD PEOPLE have been around since the beginning.
When we strip away the pious posturing and self beneficial exclusionary doctrines of certain elements of mankind thathave made religious structures that make no sense in the in light of a loving GOD that created everyone to made in “HIS IMAGE”. A disciple of JESUS put it this way, GOD IS LOVE. GOD is a force of energy that too many people have refused to participate in. Look around you. Let us not forget an evil side of Succes AT Anothers Expense within the creation of the energy of LOVE that GOD has to compete with for individual attention.
And eventually UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY became a bit more than a question and answer period of a Second Grade United Methodist Sunday School student who asked a simple question. Why?
Because just CHRISTIANITY didn’t fit what I discovered. It didn’t fit the answers I heard of on TV. It didn’t match with JESUS.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER seemed much simpler than what I heard on Sunday mornings in church discussions. AND TOO MANY THREATS. If you do this, your off to hell. You will never go to heaven. Initially there was only HEAVEN in the first place. In the followers from different cultures who embraced the Jesus of LOVE ONE ANOTHER there was a different outlook. A LIFE IS OUTLOOK.
I discovered other things. They were shocking things. LIFE IS TEMPORARY.
Not only that, YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THAT. The opportunity you have been given ON EARTH comes with no time frame. GOOD, BAD, INDIFFERENT, a car accident, a war, a flood, a pandemic, a tornado, a world war. For many A diagnosis at birth, or in the middle of it. This life, with all of its challenges, is here and it is TEMPORARY in this format. We may follow the adherents from other cultures who believe in reincarnation, or do it over until you get it right. There are others who believe that you need to get it right and that is it. I, personally, have never imaged a day I do not get up to enjoy the journey over and over again.
UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY IS LIFE IS MEANT FOR LIVING, TAKE YOUR FAITH OFF OF THE SHELF.
LIVE IN THE DARK or LIVE IN THE LIGHT. YOU CHOOSE.
The variety of what you can choose is beyond my scope.
But I have always remembered one thing. “WHY DIDN’T GOD MAKE ALL PEOPLE GOOD ?”
BECAUSE THAT IS OUR JOB.
By the way we act, FORGIVE ME MY TRESPASSES (easy enough) AS I FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE TRESPASSED AGAINST ME (real tough).
LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU
(Way Complicated in it’s depth).
To me, the purpose of living is to participate in the adventure of life.
How you do that is what you choose. You do the best you can while you are here. I have always wanted UNORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY to give you a place where you can MAKE JESUS AND GOD WORK FOR YOU. If you so wish, have a conversation with an entity most of us call GOD. Or a carpenters son named JESUS. Wisdom is not exclusive to just these two. You will meet the wisest people at the most opportune times in your life. It will not happen by coincidence. It will happen for you by asking and recognizing it. It may be your lifelong adventure or at your last breath. You will be forgiven for what you know not what you do. And you may enjoy every moment of the journey. GOD has made all people good, it is just a matter of time.
GOD BLESS and I pray you can make your best life work for you.
It is your gift from GOD and a carpenters SON named JESUS.
Jesus heard an argument that was going on in a crowd. “What are you arguing about”, Jesus asked. A man answered from the crowd. He said “Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to”.
“You faithless generation”, Jesus said in reply. “How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me”. They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father “How long has this been happening to him?” “From childhood,” he replied, “and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us”.
“What do you mean, ‘If you can ?” retorted Jesus. “Anything is possible for anyone who has faith”.
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!” When Jesus saw how many people were pressing around him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. “Deaf and dumb spirit,” Jesus said, “I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.” Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said “He is dead”. But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up and he was able to stand. When Jesus had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately , “Why were we unable to cast it out?” “This is the kind,” Jesus answered, “that can only be driven out by prayer”.
What do you mean “If” you can? Have you asked JESUS “If you can”? Has life thrown you a curve and you have tried everything else and nothing is working for you.
Often JESUS is the last resort for help. Many times we blame Jesus when something goes wrong in life.
We are like the young boy who told the pastor that he was never going to go to church again because Jesus did not answer his prayer when his grandmother had passed away.
The Pastor asked the young boy what had he asked of Jesus. “To make Grandma better. That she would have no pain”. The young boy asked.
“Where is Grandma now”; asked the Pastor.
“Heaven?” the boy asked.
“Yes” said the Pastor. “And she is not in any pain. And she never will be in pain ever again and Jesus did just what you asked”.
Jesus was known through the crowds of his day as a great healer. Many brought friends, relatives, and themselves to Jesus to heal them. The stories just like this one above happened daily, Many times a day. How many times have you gone to Jesus in prayer and asked Jesus “If you can,Jesus”; heal mom, or dad, or the pet dog or find the family cat”. You watch the news and a car accident takes someone you know or someone in common. Someone in church or down the street. Your best friend, your love. “IF YOU CAN, JESUS”.
“Help the little faith I have!”
More often than not we have this discussion with Jesus, IF YOU CAN? long before we ever discuss life with JESUS as our savior or our friend. Long before we even take the opportunity to get to know Jesus. Many have a hard enough time believing in JESUS period. Let alone believe in JESUS enough to believe that He can.
Can Jesus? Nice stories, nice movies, but come on, Faith?
“Why were we unable to cast out the unclean spirit?” asked the Disciples. “This is the kind that can only be driven out by prayer” Jesus replied. And Prayer is a learned function of life. It doesn’t just crop up because it is Tuesday. Take time to ask Jesus how things are going. Listen to the answers. It took you years to develop a best friend. Ask Jesus just what had to be done to make that best friend happen. Then LISTEN.
“What Do You Mean “IF” you can. What do you mean IF you believe in ME. What do you mean “Help the little faith I have!”
Jesus asks as much of US as we ask of Him.
“What do you mean, “IF”. “Please Help the little faith I have!”
Jesus CAN, If Jesus Knows. Start your conversation today.
Faith is the word of my day. Too late for morning but on time for the rest of the day.
Probably the most difficult word to grasp for most of us is Faith, until we say “thank you GOD”.
Every day it happens. No matter how we feel, what we prayed for this morning, what we wish for this day.
Isn’t That Wonderful. How does it work? I don’t really know.
I can offer a clue: As a wise advertiser once said and immortalized the phrase: “JUST DO IT”. “Thank you GOD”.
What an appropriate Word for today. Prayers can be singled out for all of us for different reasons today and we can help each other with a simple enough prayer to remind us that GOD watches out for each one of us. Even when our prayer concerns overlap each other our prayers are each addressed individually. It may be a response from within our spirits. It may be a call from a co-worker, or a neighbor, or a relative or friend. It may come from a stranger we do not know with the right thing to say, and I am sure each of us has had that day when a TV show causes us to say “I sure did need that message today”. Coincidence is GOD’s norm. That said, enjoy today, the gifts it offers, and the opportunities it represents.
I first posted this song last year in 2021 for Easter Sunday. With all of the challenges of the the Pandemic and the election and social media I felt my belief to believe needs to be recognized that what happened 2000 + years ago was embraced by followers whose only knowledge was driven by the calls of that Sunday morning. No newspapers, no books, no TV or anything else. This is what the people knew and heard about. From that moment a single itinerant rabbi introduced the world to a belief that was just 2 days before hopeless. Today His name Jesus is a name that is known throughout the world. May the events of those days answer your questions and may your develop a relationship with Jesus that will enrich your life forever.
I Decided to post a song of mine that I wrote a number of years ago for this Easter Sunday. Unorthodox Christianity as I see it follows the story, believes in it, and tries to live it. The song seems appropriate for this day. One need not agree. One can even debate it. For me, and my house….. It’s True.
Click the left button to start.
The women say…….. It’s empty now
His body’s gone…….. and He’s Risen Oh It’s True…..Oh they say that it is true He has risen from the dead for me and you
They have seen him once again… and He’s forgiven all our sins
You can praise and join along…. They couldn’t kill the savior’s love Oh It’s True…..Oh they say that it is true He has risen from the dead for me and you
It’s so hard to comprehend….. For I stood and watched Him die
But they say they’ve seen Him risen and the truth can’t be denied
I had placed Him in the tomb…And then I turned around and cried
Now they say that He is risen and His love is still alive Oh It’s True…..Oh they say that it is true He has risen from the dead for me and you
And then I see Him…….
Touch my feet and touch my hands
Put your fingers in my side
You can see the tomb is empty and this truth can’t be denied
Oh It’s True……Jesus is seen and He’s Alive
He is risen from the dead and He’s the Christ
Touch my feet and touch my hands
Put your fingers in my side
You can see the tomb is empty and this truth can’t be denied
Oh It’s True…Jesus is seen and He’s Alive
He is risen from the dead and He’s the Christ…
Oh It’s True…Jesus is seen and He’s Alive
He is risen from the dead and He’s the Christ…